Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Parker, Peter (clergyman)

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PARKER, Peter, clergyman, b. in Framingham, Mass., 18 June, 1804; d. in Washington, D. C., 10 Jan., 1888. He was graduated at Yale in 1831, and at the medical department there in 1834, and, having also studied theology, was ordained the same year, and sent to China as a missionary by the American board. On his arrival he established a hospital at Canton, which was originally intended for the treatment of diseases of the eye, but soon included patients with other maladies, and 2,000 were admitted the first year. Dr. Parker's skill as a surgeon caused the fame of the hospital to spread rapidly; he also preached to its inmates, and trained several natives in medicine and surgery. During the war with England in 1840 he left China and visited the United States, closing the hospital in his absence, but returning in 1842, he opened it with a largely increased force. He resigned his connection with the American board in 1845, and while in charge of the hospital became secretary and interpreter to the U. S. embassy, acting as chargé d'affaires in the absence of the U. S. minister. He again visited this country in 1855 on account of the failure of his health, but, by the special request of the U. S. government, returned to China the same year as commissioner, with full power to revise the treaty of 1844, acting in this capacity till 1857, when he finally resigned and returned home. He became a regent of the Smithsonian institution in 1868, a corporate member of the American board in 1871, and was a delegate of the Evangelical alliance to Russia the same year to memorialize the emperor in behalf of religious liberty in the Baltic provinces. He was president of the Washington branch of the Evangelical alliance in 1887. He published “Journal of an Expedition from Singapore to Japan” (London, 1838); “A Statement Respecting Hospitals in China” (1841); and “Eulogy on Henry Wilson” (Washington, D. C., 1880).